When I was younger…in fact, quite likely, when most of us were younger, the latest new movies opening for the week provided something for us teens and bored mall rats to do without spending too much money. It also kept kids out of their parents' hair for at least two hours. This rarely had more of an impact than in the summertime when we buzzed around towns and cities like swarms of bees in search of release. The same holds true today.
In the Nineties, I became obsessed with filling my film time with art house flicks, comedies and a ton of horror films that really used to upset my father... "Mi Hijito, I don't want you filling your mind with all that craaaaap and fear...it's of the Devil." My thought usually was 'Exactly father dear…exactly!’ followed by images of “Damien, I’m doing this for you!”
Slowly, I began recognising that while indies and horrors spurned my creativity and wonderlust, it was the genre of comedy that affected my emotional health in a positive way. About four years ago, I fell in love with all things Kristen Wiig and when Bridesmaids became a behemoth box office smash, everyone attached to the film either became more famous or made mad money…or both.
Nearly four years later, the writer, producer and director of the aforementioned film have produced their latest outing simply called Spy. While I do wish Kristen was in this film, having Melissa McCarthy with Jason Statham, the smooth comedienne Miranda Hart, Rose Byrne, Jude Law and Allison Janney as backup, the comedic/action tour de force just begs to be watched. It's fun, there is no doubt, but this is a mere US-American-travelling-Europe whilst undercover story that has been done before...but perhaps not so bitingly clever. Example: A Fish Called Wanda. When an agent goes down by the hands of a sexy killer, the CIA sends in big and beautiful Susan Cooper (McCarthy) deep undercover, and we see a solemn, shy woman turn into a brazen, Euro-hopping uber-spy jumping between double agent acting and kick-ass spygirl. The simplicity of this film project and the stellar cast certainly save an otherwise silly crime spoof, but there are some decent laughs here and the movie’s box office take is showing signs of yet another Melissa McCarthy plus ensemble sleeper hit. ###
When I was a bit older and into decades of movies, my elder brother Roddy spurned me into checking out the many disaster movies that lined the summer box office hit lists in the Seventies. One of my favourites was Earthquake (such delicious cheese!) and the original The Poseidon Adventure…there really has to be a morning after…there just has to be?! Anyway, in the vein of The Day After Tomorrow and 2012 comes the new disaster wannabe epic San Andreas. Starring Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson (whose films are making big bucks these days, go figure!) and Carla Gugino (forever in mind as the new gal in Troop Beverly Hills) in a struggle to save their only remaining daughter after a 9.6 Richter scale quake rocks the entire western seaboard from L.A. up to San Fran. Yes folks, its THAT big one, the one where L.A. falls into the sea (what a lovely idea, actually) and we get a big CGI spectacle to feast our eyes on for a couple of hours. The script waivers between the typical to the emotional, but what was interesting for me to note as a critic was that The Rock can actually handle an emotional scene with an air of ease and quasi-believability. I could almost see Woody Allen taking him under his wing and attempting a makeover on him as a real actor’s actor. That said, the movie is sheer, gripping fun and a worthy summer big screen film the entire family can watch. ###
Let’s touch base next weekend, folks! Have a good one.